"Parker Solar Probe is, quite literally, the fastest, hottest - and, to me, coolest - mission under the Sun", NASA project scientist Nicola Fox said in a news release.
The Parker Solar Probe, which is named after solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker, will carry the mission of venturing into the atmosphere of the sun to try to unlock the secrets of the host star of the solar system.
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The spacecraft, about the size of a small vehicle, will travel directly into the sun's atmosphere about 4 million miles (6.4 million km) from its surface. NASA will load the names of the people on a memory chip that will fly onboard the Parker Solar Probe. NASA is accepting names now through April 27.
The spacecraft speed is so fast, at its closest approach it will be going at approximately 430,000 miles (692,000 km) per hour. NASA points out that, that's fast enough to travel between Washington D.C. and Tokyo in less than a minute.
Inside, the high-tech spaceship, will be a microchip that Nasa plans to fill with names, including (if you so wish), yours. It will stay 4 million miles from the surface of the sun, from where it will examine magnetic fields, solar storms, and other factors affecting space weather.
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The probe is named after astrophysicist Eugene Parker, and is the first NASA craft honoring a living individual, according to the news release. By sending a probe into the corona of the sun, scientists will be able to witness and record where solar wind, flares and coronal mass ejections occur more accurately than ever before. Image via NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
To play out these remarkable examinations, the rocket and instruments will be shielded from the Sun's warmth by a 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield, which should withstand temperatures outside the shuttle that achieve nearly 2,500 F. This cutting edge warm shield will keep the four instrument suites meant to examine attractive fields, plasma and vivacious particles, and picture the sun oriented breeze at room temperature. This heat shield will keep the four instrument suites created to study magnetic fields, plasma and energetic particles, and image the solar wind, at room temperature. The names will be sent on the Parker Solar Probe all the way to the sun.
This probe will journey to a region humanity has never explored before.
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"Parker Solar Probe is going to help us learn about how the Sun works, how it affects life and technology here on Earth", Shatner said.